Excerpt from an article that was published on 28th May 2017.
I was asked about the highlights of this year, but wouldn’t the fans know better?I asked a few fans, indeed the biggest attention will be whether HKT48’s Sashihara would win again this year. Besides the exposure on TV, the declaration of it being her last Sousenkyo makes us question if this would be a beautiful ending. Another question is, how would Yamamoto Sayaka’s withdrawal from the event affect the results? It is said that only Yamamoto can topple Sashihara, but her withdrawal shocked the fans. But we can’t simply deduce that Sashihara’s win is definite. It’s said that a new AKB48 won’t be born if Sashihara isn’t toppled, so the conservative fans are banding together despite being in different camps. It seems like they are amassing votes for orthodox idol Watanabe Mayu who also happens to have announced this being her last Sousenkyo. In other words, starting from votes from Yamamoto Sayaka and Kashiwagi Yuki, this time too, those fans who are wishing for the return of the years when AKB48 were orthodox idols, are raising “anti-Sashihara” votes.
Also, the united SKE48 fans might also concentrate fully on Matsui Jurina and bring her the win. Miyawaki Sakura’s growth is also something to look forward to.
Akimoto san, you don’t need the votes to tell you how much we miss the original AKB48. The number of fans who have left already says it all.
That said, the new AKB48 single will be released tomorrow and if you sincerely believe that voting will change AKB48 for the better, pls vote for Watanabe Mayu becos she = AKB48.